The Prop as a gamer platform

At one time Parallax offered a number of gamer-related hardware for the Propeller, but it seemed to disappear from the online shop some time ago. Anyone with an insight as to why this was so? I figured the Prop to be an excellent platform for games, with video, sound, and all those cogs to handle background processes. Or maybe it was just a matter of Parallax wanting to concentrate their manufacturing efforts in other things?

Reason I ask: I may embark on a project that will use the Propeller in a gamers environment, and I'm wondering if the user base still considers it a worthwhile platform for that application.

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  • jmgjmg Posts: 12,091
    At one time Parallax offered a number of gamer-related hardware for the Propeller, but it seemed to disappear from the online shop some time ago. Anyone with an insight as to why this was so? I figured the Prop to be an excellent platform for games, with video, sound, and all those cogs to handle background processes. Or maybe it was just a matter of Parallax wanting to concentrate their manufacturing efforts in other things?

    Reason I ask: I may embark on a project that will use the Propeller in a gamers environment, and I'm wondering if the user base still considers it a worthwhile platform for that application.

    What exactly is ' a gamers environment' ? Who are the intended users ?

    There is niche activity on the net around retro-gaming, but that's at a low/declining level.

    With modern phones covering casual gaming, and consoles catering to the more serious, there may be room in education ?

    There is of course P2 - that's now very close, and you could do a parallel development - use P1 or FPGA-P2 to develop, and release using P2 in 2019 ?
  • jmg wrote: »
    At one time Parallax offered a number of gamer-related hardware for the Propeller, but it seemed to disappear from the online shop some time ago. Anyone with an insight as to why this was so? I figured the Prop to be an excellent platform for games, with video, sound, and all those cogs to handle background processes. Or maybe it was just a matter of Parallax wanting to concentrate their manufacturing efforts in other things?

    Reason I ask: I may embark on a project that will use the Propeller in a gamers environment, and I'm wondering if the user base still considers it a worthwhile platform for that application.

    What exactly is ' a gamers environment' ? Who are the intended users ?

    There is niche activity on the net around retro-gaming, but that's at a low/declining level.

    With modern phones covering casual gaming, and consoles catering to the more serious, there may be room in education ?

    There is of course P2 - that's now very close, and you could do a parallel development - use P1 or FPGA-P2 to develop, and release using P2 in 2019 ?
    A Hydra2 would be pretty cool. I wonder if Andre' would be interested?

  • Mine wouldn't be a finished product but DIY maker education in the hardware and software. It would be for people who want to write their own games. For that matter they'd probably make their own controller console.

    I suppose retro games have a certain nostalgia appeal, and there was/is significant interest in the Super NES Classic, so the market is definitely there. But I think it's for NES games, not something made to sorta-kinda-not-really look like Super Mario.

    I'm thinking more about original work. I suppose that really might require a library of functions, like Phaser or Easel for JavaScript.

  • There is niche activity on the net around retro-gaming, but that's at a low/declining level.

    Untrue. See Nintendo Mini, and other efforts.

    The hunt for new retro titles is on. Even one I once wrote! (I don't think is that good, but others do.)

    There is more possible on P1 gaming. P2 gaming should be pretty great.



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  • JRetSapDoogJRetSapDoog Posts: 660
    edited June 1 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Expectations have gone up over the years in terms of graphics and game play, but that doesn't stop me from occasionally playing a simple game of Flash-based Pacman (at least while browsers still support Flash). Although the Propeller can't push pixels anywhere near as fast as modern games seem to require, it can certainly handle some retro stuff.

    Still, it's hard to compete with emulators and retro gaming seems like a crowded space. So, I think it's good to have an angle of some kind. Perhaps you could aim for a handheld console in kit form that comes with a screen. Ben Heckendorn's element14-sponsored The Ben Heck Show has done some small console hacks. Maybe a Propeller-based one would make for a nice project.

    It may be good to aim to do something a bit different than what's commonly available. That's what I tried to do with my just announced Quad-Screen Word-Game Console over in the Completed Projects forum. My thinking was that lots of good word games haven't been developed yet, and a multi-screen console that allows for playing them face-to-face while seated around a table is an attractive concept.

    So that may be an avenue to pursue: retro gaming on multiple screens. Even my word-game console would be applicable to some kind of multi-screen retro gaming, but I haven't tried to work on that. To really exploit it, one would likely have to write one's own video drivers. But particularly for games with graphics generated on-the-fly that don't take a huge amount of buffer space, I think it would be quite doable. Perhaps you could consider working on a dual-screen retro gaming console that's based around the Propeller.
  • Anyone with an insight as to why this was so? I figured the Prop to be an excellent platform for games, with video, sound, and all those cogs to handle background processes. Or maybe it was just a matter of Parallax wanting to concentrate their manufacturing efforts in other things?

    Reason I ask: I may embark on a project that will use the Propeller in a gamers environment, and I'm wondering if the user base still considers it a worthwhile platform for that application.

    Sure, I can tell you exactly why. The product had a lifecycle like anything else we've made. When volume declines enough that our minimum build quantities or order quantities result in slow inventory turns (let's say a year, in this case) you deem the value of your cash better-placed elsewhere. It's that simple: just a return on investment. If our decisions were purely emotional we'd be out of business by now. Whenever we face these questions of discontinue or EOL, many of our team will cry, kick, and scream (on behalf of our customers, too). I'm one of those people who hates the process of ending products.

    The resources for gaming are still published, everywhere. Use them! The absence of the Hydra or other game systems doesn't mean the applications are less popular.

    Ken Gracey
  • AwesomeCronkAwesomeCronk Posts: 316
    edited May 31 Vote Up0Vote Down
    So what you are saying is that we should all stockpile on the less popular products because they may be gone soon. Works for me!
  • Ken Gracey wrote: »
    Anyone with an insight as to why this was so? I figured the Prop to be an excellent platform for games, with video, sound, and all those cogs to handle background processes. Or maybe it was just a matter of Parallax wanting to concentrate their manufacturing efforts in other things?

    Reason I ask: I may embark on a project that will use the Propeller in a gamers environment, and I'm wondering if the user base still considers it a worthwhile platform for that application.

    Sure, I can tell you exactly why. The product had a lifecycle like anything else we've made. When volume declines enough that our minimum build quantities or order quantities result in slow inventory turns (let's say a year, in this case) you deem the value of your cash better-placed elsewhere. It's that simple: just a return on investment. If our decisions were purely emotional we'd be out of business by now. Whenever we face these questions of discontinue or EOL, many of our team will cry, kick, and scream (on behalf of our customers, too). I'm one of those people who hates the process of ending products.

    The resources for gaming are still published, everywhere. Use them! The absence of the Hydra or other game systems doesn't mean the applications are less popular.

    Ken Gracey

    There are literally thousands of companies that were not willing to make those decisions that are no longer with us.

    Particularly patient proactive practice positively predicates practically precise poly-processor Parallax Propeller programming paradigms.

    .
  • Like like that product life cycle business plan! If the iPhone & consumer electronics, cars & trucks - and its ilk transition out every year or so, maybe we can learn something from that. I have had more than a few ideas, maybe even prototypes built, with the P1, but it takes a lot of effort to go from prototype to production, and then sell the stuff. Right now I am working on a ham radio transceiver using the FLiP module as a controller. Talk about challenges - digital and analog and RF !!! I always look forward to seeing what you guys are doing and thinking. I check in at least once a day to see what's up LOL
  • yetiyeti Posts: 415
    edited June 1 Vote Up0Vote Down
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  • RaymanRayman Posts: 8,756
    edited June 7 Vote Up0Vote Down
    The EVE2 chip can do some pretty impressive graphics stuff...
    For example, it can scale and rotate png images...

    I bet one could use it with Propeller to make a modern looking game...

    Also, it can generate sound effects...

    Prop Info and Apps: http://www.rayslogic.com/
  • Rayman wrote: »
    The EVE2 chip can do some pretty impressive graphics stuff...
    For example, it can scale and rotate png images...

    I bet one could use it with Propeller to make a modern looking game...

    Also, it can generate sound effects...
    If you're going to use an EVE2 chip to handle all of the graphics why pair it with a Propeller chip. Wouldn't you be better off pairing it with an ARM for running the game logic. One of the big advantages of the Propeller is its ability to handle video so if you're not using that some other processor might work better. I love the Propeller but it doesn't seem like this is a good use of it. How would the rest of the game logic benefit from the Propeller architecture?

  • There’s no fun in Arm
    Prop Info and Apps: http://www.rayslogic.com/
  • jmgjmg Posts: 12,091
    David Betz wrote: »
    If you're going to use an EVE2 chip to handle all of the graphics why pair it with a Propeller chip. Wouldn't you be better off pairing it with an ARM for running the game logic. One of the big advantages of the Propeller is its ability to handle video so if you're not using that some other processor might work better. I love the Propeller but it doesn't seem like this is a good use of it. How would the rest of the game logic benefit from the Propeller architecture?
    True, but one appeal of pairing an EVE2 with P2, is to 'see where the edges are' :)
    ie finding out What can be done inside P2, that is equivalent, or better than EVE2 ?
    Conversely, what does Eve2 do better, and what are it's limitations ?


  • Rayman wrote: »
    There’s no fun in Arm
    Yeah, that's true but it would be both cheaper and give you a larger address space for creating the game logic than the Propeller. Of course, the goal here is probably to create a Propeller-based game system whether or not that makes the most sense because it is really a platform for *writing* games and the people here would rather use a Propeller than anything else. I guess I'm one of them since I haven't done anything with any of my ARM boards for quite some time. :-)
  • I think prop should have enough memory for game logic

    It’s graphics that it doesn’t have room for. Eve2 has ton of ram and prop can use sd to load it up

    Actually, might put sqi flash on bus to do to super fast transfer ...
    Prop Info and Apps: http://www.rayslogic.com/
  • Rayman wrote: »
    I think prop should have enough memory for game logic

    It’s graphics that it doesn’t have room for. Eve2 has ton of ram and prop can use sd to load it up

    Actually, might put sqi flash on bus to do to super fast transfer ...
    Are you making hardware anymore? I haven't seen any of your designs available for purchase recently.

  • I can’t sell
    But I’ve posted expresspcb and eagle designs so people can have their own made
    Prop Info and Apps: http://www.rayslogic.com/
  • Rayman wrote: »
    I can’t sell
    But I’ve posted expresspcb and eagle designs so people can have their own made
    Why can't you sell? Where are the designs?

  • RaymanRayman Posts: 8,756
    edited June 7 Vote Up0Vote Down
    In forum
    But I should make web page...

    We file taxes in all 50 states now,..
    Can’t add to complexity
    Prop Info and Apps: http://www.rayslogic.com/
  • Rayman wrote: »
    In forum
    But I should make web page...

    We file taxes in all 50 states now,..
    Can’t add to complexity
    Can you sell ME something? I live in NH and we don't have a sales tax! :-)
  • I'd give you stuff for free!
    Prop Info and Apps: http://www.rayslogic.com/
  • I ask this as someone only vaguely familiar with the Prop2 (but getting more interested every day)--

    Is there any reason it couldn't run a sort of Quake2 style game? 460k bytes of hubram for two pages video memory. And 55K left to load code and maps, which are constantly reloaded from hyperram.

    I ask because there might be a basic bandwidth problem I don't know about, much less just overall performance issue required of making such a game.

    (I think on another website I read Quake 2 code is only like 30 pages of source code. I could be wrong though)

    If this is true, THIS is the type of Gamer platform that might really spark excitement
    I am the Master, and technology my slave.
  • RaymanRayman Posts: 8,756
    edited June 8 Vote Up0Vote Down
    I see Quake required 75 MHz Pentium and 8 MB of RAM.
    Wikipedia says that was ~126 MIPS.
    P2 might be 90 MIPS per core. So, I guess it's possible with multiple cores and a lot of external RAM...
    Prop Info and Apps: http://www.rayslogic.com/
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